Exploring the Côtes de Bordeaux
Introducing one of France’s newest appellations
by Michelle Kwan
France’s famous Bordeaux region comprises numerous appellations and sub-regions, from St-Emilion, Pomerol and Médoc to Entre-Deux-Mers and Sauternes. In 2007, the AOC Côtes de Bordeaux was created, combining the “terroirs” of Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon and Francs, in order to distinguish this unique region from its neighbors. The appellation also gives winemakers within the region the flexibility to blend wines from different areas within the appellation.
Wines from the Côtes des Bordeaux account for ten percent of total Bordeaux wine production and are predominantly made from red varietals, especially Merlot. Some of these reds from the region’s premiere vineyards were showcased at Bar Bordeaux in the Carlton Hotel, the only bar in New York City devoted solely to wines from Bordeaux. This charming space, characterized by a merging of eighteenth century French romanticism and pop art accents, was the perfect setting for sampling wines from this region. A variety of passed appetizers made excellent pairings, from salmon toast and lamb chops topped with parsley to satay beef and gazpacho.
A Château Haut-Vigneau 2010 from Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux composed of 80 percent Merlot, 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 percent Cabernet Franc yielded a fresh, well-rounded wine with a soft supple body full of berry notes and a full, velvety finish. A Château du Vallier 2010 from the Côtes de Bordeaux consisting of 60 percent Merlot, 30 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 percent Cabernet Franc presented ripe fruit, vanilla and sweet spice notes followed by a balanced and smooth finish. This wine complemented a grilled filet of beef as did a Château Landonnet 2011. This bottle, comprised of 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 40 percent Merlot, yielded notes of black cherries and prunes as well as soft tannins.
At Bar Bordeaux, attendees were given a wonderful introduction to the varietals on offer by some of the leading Côtes de Bordeaux. At adjoining Millesime, a wine pairing dinner followed where each bottle was again served with either a meat or fish course, according to personal preference. Guests left with a bottle of Château de Lardiley from Cadillac and a greater appreciation of the wines and winemaking traditions of the Côtes de Bordeaux.
For more information, visit the Côtes de Bordeaux official website